Wondering who pays alimony during a divorce? Read on to find out what both parties need to know about alimony payments!
Of all the divorces that result in alimony, a shockingly low number of payments are awarded to men.
Even as men become part of same-sex marriages, are awarded sole custody of children or earn less than their female spouses, there is still a stigma about men who are awarded alimony.
But however your relationship breaks down, who pays the other alimony is mostly dependent on demonstrable need.
If you’re going through a divorce for the first time, get comfortable with the concept of alimony. Alimony is what one spouse pays to another after their divorce. While not every divorced couple faces an alimony judgment, some judges determine it’s necessary.
Often called “spousal support,” it’s paid by one partner to another to help support the lifestyle they’re used to. Sometimes, such payments continue indefinitely. In other cases, they’re temporary.
If a lump sum is awarded to one party, that usually replaces alimony. If the lump sum is higher than the temporary support, the difference would be paid.
During the period of separation before the divorce is finalized, separate maintenance may be needed. Since the couple is still married, one might support the other while they’re in genuine need.
For example, if it was a household with just one breadwinner, the spouse might need financial support.
Courts can order separate maintenance be paid if the spouse with an income doesn’t support the one who needs it. While this isn’t common, it can be necessary for the spouse who makes more money to step in at request of the court.
Separate maintenance also is used where there’s no desire for a divorce but the couple wants to live separately. No two marriages begin or end the same way, so it’s vital there are options for both parties.
Purpose of Alimony
The purpose of alimony is so one spouse can provide the other with necessary support. The person who requests alimony must show they need it. They also must prove their spouse can pay for such support within reason.
If you want alimony as part of your divorce, you must make a formal request. Your attorney can usually help you with this.
If you and your spouse agree on an alimony plan, all you must do is to get the judge to agree to it. While it’s not always that straightforward, a simple solution its better for everyone.
In the absence of an agreement, the judge decides whether someone is entitled to alimony. When you file your complaint for divorce, the alimony request should be included.
One reason to seek alimony is you can’t request it once the divorce is finalized. If your future is uncertain or you’re the main parent in a divorced household, it’s reasonable to pursue alimony.
How Long Alimony Lasts
Alimony theoretically can last only a short time or as long as it takes to raise children to adulthood. The length of the alimony is set by a court order.
If you disagree with the set conditions, the court will reconsider what would work for you. Each divorce is different and most judges understand this.
Permanent alimony could last until either spouse dies. Alternately, it could be ended when the court finds alimony is no longer appropriate. If the spouse who gets alimony wins the lottery or the paying spouse loses everything, the court may be asked to step in.
Rehabilitative alimony is a time-limited payment that expires when the court determines. If the receiving spouse needs it while they get job training, for example, they’ll get the help they need.
Re-marriage can terminate alimony. The payments can be reassessed by the court at your ex-spouse’s request. If your new spouse has more wealth than your ex-spouse, the ex-spouse can reasonably seek a reassessment.
Deal With Disagreements
If your ex-spouse doesn’t agree they should pay alimony or disagrees with the terms, that’s when you ask the court to step in.
If it seems “just and proper,” the court will require alimony. If one party has trouble supporting themselves because of a disability or because of advanced age, the court may rule for that party. If their standard of living changed drastically over the course of a long marriage, the other party may pay alimony.
Even disability issues come into play. If someone is older or struggles with health issues, the court may rule in their favor.
Who Pays Alimony
The facts of how your relationship is structured and how you’ll split your assets will tell you who pays alimony. It’s not always about who earns more money. If the other person owns more wealth, they might pay alimony to the ex-spouse who works.
If you’re entering a new relationship, check out our guide on how to set up a prenuptial agreement so you avoid alimony issues in the future.